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Common to all versions of the map, playing on it starts the two teams off on very different conditions. The defending team will control all capable, and land based capture points while the attacking team generally holds one non-capable spawn point from where an assault can be launched, with the aid of boats and planes, helicopters or fighter jets (depending on the version of the map).
In the various iterations of Wake Island a number of things have remained constant. The team attacking the island controls a carrier that has small boats, jets and helicopters. The defending team's air base is usually on the eastern most point, this is where the commander's assets (UAV or artiller), jets and helicopters can be found.
The map has since its debut in Battlefield 1942 attained legendary status amongst fans of the franchise and has been included in almost every chapter of the Battlefield games. The intelligent design of the map and the conditions needed to capture it puts heavy focus on team cooperation, and one will often see the least organized team become overwhelmed easily and fast by a well organized and disciplined set of players. The horse shoe shaped map allows the attacking team multiple options for attack to be used and the defending team will often find itself being pushed from both of the landing points at the end of the ''shoe'' by enemy forces. The defending team is often, however, extremely well equipped with defensive measures as anti-air guns, bunkers and static machine guns which provide increased capability to resist the invaders.
For Battlefield Heroes there was a cartoon version of wake island called "Wicked Wake" released july 2011. The map was also featured in a new and visually improved version in Battlefield 3 as a part of the Back to Karkand DLC.